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William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire
Born circa 1590
Died June 20, 1628
Spouse(s) Christian Bruce
Children Anne Cavendish
William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire
Charles Cavendish
Parents William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire
Anne Keighley

William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire (c. 1590 – June 20, 1628) was an English courtier and politician.



He was the second son of William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, by his first wife Anne Keighley. He was educated by Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher, who lived at Chatsworth as his private tutor for many years and accompanied him on the Grand Tour between 1610 and 1615, visiting France and Italy before his coming of age. Hobbes praises his learning in the dedication of his translation of Thucydides. Cavendish was knighted at Whitehall in 1609.

He was a leader of court society, and an intimate friend of James I. He was M.P. for Derby in 1621, 1624, 1625, and 1626; lord-lieutenant of Derbyshire in 1619 and in 1625-6; and high bailiff of Tutbury in 1626. In April 1622 he introduced to audiences with the king Schwarzenburg, ambassador from the Emperor Ferdinand, Valerssio from Venice, and d'Arsennes and Joachimi from the United Provinces. In 1625 he was present at Charles I's marriage with Henrietta Maria.

Early in 1626 the death of his father gave him a seat in the House of Lords, and he resisted George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham's attempt to find a treasonable meaning on a speech of Sir Dudley Digges (13 May 1626). His spending strained his resources, and he procured a private act of parliament to enable him to sell some of the entailed estates in discharge of his debts (1628). His London house was in Bishopsgate, on the site afterwards occupied by Devonshire Square. He died there, from over-indulgence it was said on 20 June 1628, and was buried in Allhallows Church, Derby.


He married Christian(a) Bruce, daughter of Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss,[1] on 10 April 1608. They had three children:


  1. ^ Pearson, John, The Serpent and the Stag, (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983), 44.


  • Pearson, John, The Serpent and the Stag, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983.

This article incorporates text from the entry Cavendish, William (1591?-1628) in the Dictionary of National Biography (1885–1900), a publication now in the public domain.

Honorary titles
Title last held by
The Earl of Shrewsbury
Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire
jointly with The Earl of Devonshire 1619–1626

Succeeded by
The Earl of Newcastle
Peerage of England
Preceded by
William Cavendish
Earl of Devonshire
Succeeded by
William Cavendish


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